Stanford's Candice Wiggins and Jayne Appel Among 30 Preseason Finalists For John R. Wooden Award
Oct. 31, 2007
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford basketball standouts Candice Wiggins and Jayne Appel were named as preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Award, the award's selection committee announced Wednesday. It is the second straight year that Wiggins has been named as a finalist for the Wooden Award, and the first for Appel.
Stanford was one of five schools to have multiple candidates on the list, as Maryland, Rutgers, and Tennessee each had three, and Connecticut placed two on the list.
Last season, Wiggins, a senior guard from San Diego, Calif., was named a Kodak/WBCA and Associated Press All-American for the third year in a row after leading the Cardinal with 16.9 points a game. Appel, a sophomore forward/center from Pleasant Hill, Calif., hit the collegiate scene with a splash, scoring 13.2 points and grabbing 7.5 rebounds a game on the way to capturing the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year award. The play of this inside-outside combination was instrumental last year in Stanford's 29-5 overall mark and 17-1 record in Pac-10 play, which claimed the Cardinal's seventh consecutive conference title.
Wiggins and Appel's return is also a major reason that Stanford claimed the No. 8 spot in the first USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches Poll, which was also released Wednesday morning.
The John R. Wooden Award is named for the three-time college basketball All-American, 1932 Player of the Year and ten-time national championship coach at UCLA. The list is composed of 30 female student-athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are the frontrunners for college basketball's most coveted trophy. These top 30 candidates are comprised of returning players. Transfers, freshmen, and medical redshirts are not eligible for this preseason list. They will be evaluated and considered for both the Midseason Top 20 list and the National Ballot.
'The Committee had an incredibly difficult task in narrowing down the nation's top 30 women's players, because over 50 players received at least one vote for the preseason list,' said Wooden Award Chairman, Duke Llewellyn. 'Our entire team at the Wooden Award is excited to see the best players in the nation vie for basketball's Player of the Year Award.'
In mid-January, the Wooden Award Committee will release the Midseason Top 20 list, followed by the official voting ballot in March consisting of approximately 15 players. In order to be considered for the National Ballot each player must be certified by their university as meeting the Award's criteria, including making progress toward graduation, and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Over 200 voters, comprised of sports media members and women's college basketball experts from across the nation, will cast their votes for the five-member All-American team and Wooden Award honor as the most outstanding female collegiate basketball player in the nation.
The 2008 Wooden Award Weekend, which will include the presentation of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award, the Wooden Award All-American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award to Pat Summitt from the University of Tennessee, will take place April 11-April 12, 2008. The top five male and female finalists will be invited to Los Angeles for the Award celebration and will receive a contribution from The Los Angeles Athletic Club in their name to their university's general scholarship fund.
About the John R. Wooden Award
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation's best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird ('79), Michael Jordan ('84), Tim Duncan ('97), and last year's recipients, Kevin Durant of Texas and Candace Parker of Tennessee.
Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities' general scholarship funds in the names of the All-American recipients, and has sent over 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the Award's name. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament, which brings together Special Olympians and the All-American team members, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club during the Wooden Award Weekend.